Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Spiders suffer from human impact

Date:
May 23, 2011
Source:
FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology
Summary:
Researchers looked at whether spiders were more tolerant of human impact than other animals. The answer was no: arachnids suffer the consequences of changes to their landscape just like any other animal.

This is a tarantula (Lycosa tarantula) in Doñana.
Credit: Samuel Prieto-Benítez

Researchers from the King Juan Carlos University (URJC) have carried out a research study published in Biological Conservation, which looked at whether spiders were more tolerant of human impact than other animals. The answer was no: arachnids suffer the consequences of changes to their landscape just like any other animal.

Related Articles


"The abundance and number of spider species is negatively affected by the impact of many human land uses, such as habitat fragmentation, fire and pesticides," Samuel Prieto-Benítez and Marcos Méndez, researchers at the URJC Biodiversity and Conservation Department, said.

Given the "scarcity" of threatened spiders on the Red Lists, which are very in vogue at the moment, the researchers tried to find out whether spiders are exempt from the risks caused by human action, by means of a meta-study of a total of 173 scientific papers published since 1980, which provide more generalizable data.

"The technique used meant we could rigorously combine the results of a lot of studies. This is regularly used in medicine in order to arrive at general conclusions about the effects of drugs, based on numerous trials with more limited coverage," say Prieto-Benítez and Méndez, who studied the human impact in three ecosystems: farmland, pasture and woodland.

Until now, fewer than 20% of studies had indicated any negative effects of human impact on arachnids. The study, which has been published in Biological Conservation, demonstrates "evident" damaging effects on spider numbers due to the use of soil in farming and pasture systems. "In woodlands this was not so clear," the study explains.

Growing threats

In farming and pasture ecosystems all over world, fires, sheep-grazing and conventional crops have a harmful effect on arachnid fauna because they cause extreme changes to the vegetation structure. Spider abundance is affected in woodland by habitat fragmentation.

Insecticides also have a negative effect on spider diversity in agricultural and pasture ecosystems. The researchers show in the study that organic farming is more beneficial to arachnid abundance than conventional agriculture, but that these effects depend on the complexity of the landscape.

The study proposes some solutions for spider conservation. A reduction in mechanical alterations to the land, such as harvesting, ploughing and grazing would increase spider diversity in agricultural and pastural ecosystems. In addition, the use of insecticides should be more controlled, as in organic farming, and habitat fragmentation should be avoided.

According to the authors, although "they do not enjoy an excessive level of public sympathy," spiders are an important animal group for humans, since they free us of a large number of pest insects and are "very important" predators in the functioning of natural systems.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Samuel Prieto-Benítez, Marcos Méndez. Effects of land management on the abundance and richness of spiders (Araneae): A meta-analysis. Biological Conservation, 2011; 144 (2): 683 DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2010.11.024

Cite This Page:

FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology. "Spiders suffer from human impact." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 May 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110520104822.htm>.
FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology. (2011, May 23). Spiders suffer from human impact. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110520104822.htm
FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology. "Spiders suffer from human impact." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110520104822.htm (accessed December 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) — In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 19, 2014) — Millions of monarch butterflies begin to descend onto Mexico as part of their annual migration south. Rough Cut (no reporter narration) Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) — The new year is coming and nothing will energize you more for 2015 than protein-filled foods. Fitness and nutrition expert John Basedow (@JohnBasedow) gives his favorite high protein foods that will help you build muscle, lose fat and have endless energy. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Newsy (Dec. 19, 2014) — A new study suggests a certain type of bird was able to sense a tornado outbreak that moved through the U.S. a day before it hit. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins